St John’s College, a private Anglican school for boys, released a statement that a senior staff member had been found guilty of misconduct by an independent senior counsel in a hearing related to charges of racism. The teacher had been accused of making defamatory remarks related to the race of boys.
The school said that it welcomes the ruling, and that the staff member, a senior teacher, had already resigned from senior positions and taken a salary cut and lost benefits. It said that the teacher had been issued with a final written warning. It said that the hearing found that there were mitigating circumstances that St John’s did not divulge in a press statement, saying disciplinary hearings are confidential.
The school said that the teacher, as part of his punishment, also had to take part in a restitution and reconciliation process, and that he had already apologised unreservedly to the boys who made submissions during the hearings, their parents and the community.
Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said on 702 on Thursday afternoon that he is unhappy with the outcome, that it should have been a suspension and he wants to meet the independent school.
The school’s headmaster Paul Edey said: “We are embarking on a journey of reconciliation and opening up conversations where the voices of students and staff may be heard. Facilitated conversations involving our parent body have begun and, through these conversations, we aim to build a truly South African school very much committed to the national process of healing and growing a unified nation.”
However, it appears the matter is not over, as parents have spoken to Huffington Post where they have reportedly spoken on condition of anonymity, expressing their disappointment and anger at the outcome, and what they consider to be closing of ranks around the teacher.
Social media was also alight. One of the most interesting tweets was from St John’s College old boy Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh, who tweeted:
— Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh (@SizweMpofuWalsh) July 27, 2017
Well-known radio talk show host Eusebius McKaizer wrote on Facebook:
Others had the following to say:
Found guilty of serious misconduct yet Keith Arlow keeps his job? These are kids! St John’s College In Race Crisis https://t.co/v9rdWaKe8J
— Jason Thorne (@Jason_Bakkies) July 27, 2017
— Racism Bee (@RacismBee457) July 27, 2017